Velobrands.com are the new importers of the Kinetk series of suspension seatposts and stems and they very kindly sent me a seatpost and stem to test.
As you can see in the picture the post consists of a parallelogram set up with a longer spring at the bottom and a smaller one inside. The saddle rails do actually look like they are on the wrong way around compared to a traditional seat post but are this way to ensure when the post compresses the saddle stays in the same plane and doesn’t move backwards or forwards excessively. Changing the distance between saddle and
bars on each compression wouldn’t be good for long term comfort. The Kinekt post overcomes this with its design. The post is constructed of aluminium, a carbon version is also available.
The saddle clamp comprises of two bolts pulling down a top piece onto a graduated rest that allows fine fore and aft tilt adjustment. Again the design of the post means when the post compresses the saddle stays exactly at the angle you set it at the beginning. Saddle adjustment angle and fore-aft adjustment can be done independently of the post.
There are very good instruction videos on the cirrus website and it’s important that you watch these as even though the post is easy to adjust it’s equally as easy to get it wrong and not get the best out of the post.
The post comes with the medium springs fitted, there are also small and large springs in the box and a guide to the idea weight of rider for each. For general riding the medium spring is recommended but as I could compress this easily with just my hands I thought I’d fit the large spring. Being not of slight build I also fit into the weight category for the large anyway. You’ll need a 4mm Allen key but you don’t need engineering skills to swap both springs just make sure you follow the instructions in the video.
Springs swapped I fitted the post to the bike and set up the saddle bearing in mind the little bit of sag that you get when sitting down. It’s best then to go for a short test ride to dial the post in. On the test ride I found there was a little pedaling induced bob so I wound in the preload to counteract this. Obviously you can set the post to react to even the smallest of bumps but I set mine to react to slightly harder hits leaving it firm for normal “just pedalling along”
Most experienced riders have learned the “standing up and using your legs as suspension” technique early on and it’s hard to unlearn this so I found I had to concentrate to make myself sit down over roots and stones/rocks to see how the post performed. Over rough gravel and roots the post did exactly what it says on the box, soaked up the chatter and isolated me from the worst of the bumps, I could make it bottom out but it took some effort as the spring rate ramps up towards full compression. The post worked flawlessly throughout the rides I did on it, in complete silence too even when I covered it in mud flung up from the rear wheel. There isn’t much more to say really other than the post does exactly what it was designed to do. It takes some of the knocks and bumps out of the terrain and does it quietly and efficiently without any discernable side to side play.
Who would benefit from this seatpost?
There’s no getting away from two things with this component and that’s the way it looks and how much it weighs. It’s not the prettiest thing in the world and it weighs considerably more than a rigid alloy seatpost so should you part with your hard earned cash for one?
I think that racers, even endurance racers are looking for performance and as minimal weight of their bike and kit as possible, comfort comes a close second to this and you could do just as good a job of isolating the bike from the ground by standing up and those girls and guys have the stamina to do this over long distances so they are probably not going to go for this post.
Us mere mortals who get tired after long punishing rides (I know I’ve got to the end of rides where I’ve only just got the energy to turn the pedals and concentrate on steering and standing up and moving around becomes a chore) are more likely to benefit from the comfort of a seatpost to take the sting out of “long ride backache”.
Bikepackers whose bike is already laden probably wouldn’t notice the extra weight and can sit down and concentrate on route finding and staying alive!
City bikes and hybrid bikes would be perfect for this post with the state of todays roads and gravel strewn cycle paths and a hardtail e-bike would be great with this post, no worries on weight and you can just sit and spin along the trails.
I can’t fault the function of this seatpost, it works perfectly and is well made of quality materials, the adjustability is easy and straight forward and it is very well designed. I’d even go as far as to say looking at the build quality it’s worth the money (around £229). It will help you over rough tracks, it doesn’t bob when pedaling if set up properly and it is easy to adjust to suit your riding style. It is heavier than a normal post but the benefits of its suspension system may out weigh (yes I did that on purpose) this fact for you.
If you think you think you need a suspension seatpost I’d definitely look at the kinekt seatpost as one of the top options to consider.
Those of us of a certain age can remember a time when off road bicycles came with a rigid fork, stem and seat post and that was it. then came a revolution of suspension ideas, some innovative and useful and some just downright awful. But at the beginning of this revolution a few companies began to produce stems that suspended the rider via the handlebar from the chatter of the ground. they weren’t in anyway a 170mm suspension fork but they could enable you to barrel down a rock strewn or wash board trail without losing vision as the rigid fork shook you to bits. they were simple and worked and were only superseded by the plushness of a suspension fork.
Todays typical gravel bike has a rigid fork (yes there are a few exceptions from Fox and Cannondale etc) and the sort of rides we take those rigid forks on are much the same as we took and take a mountain bike on, albeit in my case a lot slower speed. So the time of the suspension stem might be about to shine again.
The stem has a very similar way of operating as the Kinekt 2.1 seatpost i tested recently and is a parallelogram design with a standard steerer clamp and a double face plate fastening making it very easy to swop on and off the bike and adjust. Similar to the seatpost it comes with a range of springs to suit the rider weight or riding style. it is suggested that if you ride more technical trails then fitting the medium spring would be a good place to start. swapping the springs is easy, there are very good instructional videos on the Kinekt website to guide you. One tip I would give is to keep the tiny grub screw that you have to remove very safe, I had visions of spending an hour or two trying to find it if it had rolled off the workshop counter, thankfully this didn’t happen but it is tiny and easy to lose. the stem is very well made from top quality materials and looks like it would stand a lot of abuse. It weighs 468g which is quite a lot more than the stem i usually run, is this increase in weight worth it?
The Ride, I fitted the medium spring as suggested and found i could easily move the stem just by pushing down on the bars so i took a short ride up and down the road outside my house and I could bottom out the stem easily. This wouldn’t work for me on the usual off road routes I ride. So i fitted the hardest spring in the box (you get three grades with the stem) which seemed a lot better and went for a proper ride
The test period was over around 2.5 weeks and i tried to ride all the trails I would have taken my normal stem on, this included technical forest trails, pure gravel tracks and at least one nearly 75% tarmac ride and a couple of off road night rides. The stem worked flawlessly and definitely damped out some of the roughness of the terrain. I do think though that an even harder spring would have worked better for me, the stem moved on the mildest of terrain, which it is supposed to do but i needed it to work on the harder hits and by the time those started the stem had already used up all of it’s travel and it bottomed out. Out of the saddle efforts on climbs did cause the stem to bob a little, again i think my weight and riding style could have benefitted from a harder rate spring. There was no visible side to side twist to the stem, a testament to its construction and I was definitely less beaten up at the end of a rough ride, my shoulders and neck ache after 40+ miles and this was markedly improved. There is a period of getting used to the feeling of the stem moving and at the beginning I will admit to stopping and checking that the front wheel bolt through axle wasn’t loose (it wasn’t!) but once i got used to that feeling I just rode the bike as normal.
As you can see from the video the stem managed to keep the camera quite still along a little descent and a gravel bridleway. Over a long distance on varied terrain i can see the benefit of a suspended stem. Long distance off road touring would be an ideal application. Bike packing too but you would have to carefully choose the spring rate to compensate if you load up your bars with luggage
Conclusions This stem is a quality made item, construction and materials are first rate and it looks like it would stand the test of time. It is however quite weighty compared to a non suspended stem and also costs £ in the UK. It works perfectly and isolates the rider from a lot of the gravel chatter and rooty trails we get here, but finding the best spring for your riding style is paramount. it’s not a substitute for a suspension fork, you will still have to pick a line and find the smoothest path as normal but at the end of the ride you will feel less beaten up and fatigued and that means you can ride further and for longer.
As with all my tests, this is an impartial and real world review. I’m not sponsored and I’m just an average rider like most of the cyclists out there. I do inform anyone who sends me things to test that It will be an honest review good or bad